Mindsets and Math/Science Achievement

In this research article, Carol Dweck contends that to increase student mastery of math and science, instructional techniques and curriculum tools need to be developed that shift student attitudes about learning towards what she terms a “growth mindset.”

Carol S. Dweck
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Carnegie-IAS Commission on Mathematics and Science Education
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

There is a growing body of evidence that students’ mindsets play a key role in their math and science achievement. Students who believe that intelligence or math and science ability is simply a fixed trait (a fixed mindset) are at a significant disadvantage compared to students who believe that their abilities can be developed (a growth mindset). Moreover, research is showing that these mindsets can play an important role in the relative underachievement of women and minorities in math and science. This research will show that

a) mindsets can predict math/science achievement over time;

b) mindsets can contribute to math/science achievement discrepancies for women and minorities;

c) interventions that change mindsets can boost achievement and reduce achievement discrepancies; and

d) educators play a key role in shaping students’ mindsets.

What the experts say

This article is an excellent, concise treatement of the research on the impact that students' mindsets have on their achievement, and on how teachers can powerfully impact students' mindsets in a productive direction.  This resource helps the reader understand how a learner may limit their ability to learn through a fixed mindset and offers recommendations that can be applied today in every adult education classroom.  This is a great resource to help build up a leaner's ability to eliminate mental roadblocks that may have been created several years ago.

Adult students often carry many years of unsuccessful and unpleasant math learning experiences with them. This resource can be used by program administrators and instructors to impact educational growth within the adult student population by understanding how and why learners come to a math and/or science course and feel defeated by their learning gains. This resource carries the potential to transform adult students' motivation and persistence in math classes.



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